My Turn: A bust and a bust

  • President Donald Trump walks over to pose for a photo with British Prime Minister Theresa May near a bust of Winston Churchill on Jan. 27, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. AP

For the Monitor
Published: 8/12/2020 6:40:19 AM

For 57 consecutive nights in 1940, Nazi pilots rained bombs down on London, Sheffield, Birmingham, and other cities in England during the Blitz. Winston Churchill, as prime minister of England, said “he didn’t ask for this” and that he was “not responsible” because the terror came from another country.

He passed it off to the mayors of the cities to deal with because he said he was only the prime minister and the bombing terror was a local problem.

He called one of his war generals “pathetic” and attacked his generals publicly. He even whined that the English people liked one of his generals more than him.

As the death count climbed to 40,000 in the fall of 1940, Churchill rallied his people with his stirring and memorable words, “It is what it is.” He also blamed his predecessors for the problem.

At the heaviest part of the bombing he reassured and rallied the British public by saying: “This thing’s going away. It will go away like things go away.”

Well, none of this happened the way I just wrote because the famous Bulldog of England rallied his people to stand bloodied but unbowed. Churchill actually lived his own words that “the price of greatness is responsibility.” He never ran from the devastation of his cities but stood with his generals and his people. He led, he didn’t blame, and he didn’t pass the problem on to others.

That is why at the worst point for death and destruction in October 1940, Churchill’s approval rating was 89%. That is 50 points higher than Donald Trump’s approval rating for handling our current corona terror. And the conduct I sarcastically attribute to Churchill was all Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, not Sir Winston.

The president proudly told us just one day after he was sworn into office that, and I quote from Jan. 21, 2017, we “have a bust of Churchill” back in the Oval Office. It is a shame he can’t lead like the man he claims to admire.

It’s time to return the bust to England, which loaned it to us in the first place.

(Chuck Douglas is a former N.H. Supreme Court justice and a former Republican member of Congress.)




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